Phew! The artwork for my sixth Axel Storm book is finished. Sea Wolf is probably the most exciting, involving dangerous rescues ant se and general danger of loss of life and limb! Printing and publishing schedules mean that I’ll hardly have time to draw breath before beginning the last two books, which need to be finished by the end of the month, because I’m spending the whole of Children’s Book Week in Gurnsey this year. An exciting few weeks coming up.
More particularly, make them read books. Of course, as a children’s author, I’m bound to say that, aren’t I? (In fact I want you to click the picture or this link here and go to Amazon and buy a copy of my Axel Storm series for boys, right now!) But there is another reason you should get your son reading books.
Books wire the brain up in a particular way. Nothing else does it the same way. Radio encourages pictures in the mind. The TV and internet increase general knowledge.
A book is linear. It requires effort to go from one end to the other. Along the way the author reveals a plan, a story or an argument, in a carefully constructed and considered way. The effort exerted in following the line of a book actively wires the brain – it makes connections that are strong and remain. TV and computers flash and zip about, with no time for contemplating the story thread or the knowledge gained. Other media are desperate to hold your attention and so scream for your attention.
How many times have you been so absorbed in a film or TV programme that you have been moved to tears, happiness or wonder at the end. With not a moment’s hesitation, the announcer jumps in, yelling at you not to miss a soap next tuesday – the spell is broken – the moment is gone for ever. Once upon a time they used to wait for the credits to finish, now they start flashing messages up before the credits have even begun to roll!
When your son reads a book, they are one to one with the mind of the author. Authors are real people. The author imparts all their time, knowledge and experience in a moment of personal connection. I know this from the things kids tell me. Their eyes defocus as they remember the book of mine they’ve read. In their minds they are transported to the cozy place where they read it, remembering all the characters they met and befriended in the book.
Just this morning, as I was walking in the woods, I saw a pile of sticks and was reminded of my old, curmudgeonly friend Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh
stories – he’s been locked in my mind, as real as any other friend I had forty something years ago, and I can recall him just like that, in all his gloriously grumpy detail, while walking in the woods. I don’t remember TV stuff as well from those days.
So, do yourself a favour and get your son books to read. (Do me a favour and buy books from my own online store!) Read to him, every night before he goes to bed. Talk and discuss the books he reads, make him realise how special books are, and in ten years time, you’ll find he’s learned how to learn stuff from books – and all those books will have filled his head with knowledge and will have wired brain brain up so that he will be ready and hungry to go to University and excel. Go to it – now!
We went to the Forest Bookshop tonight for the launch of The Anatomy of Ghosts, the latest book from my friend, the crime fiction writer, Andrew Taylor.
It’s been released two weeks early for us as a postscript to the Forest Words Festival that finished at the weekend.
The picture is of Andrew channeling spectral sunflowers from the artist, Van Gogh.
I’ve got my copy and will snuggle up with it in bed tonight.